Dear Undecided Ohioan:
I don’t envy your position. I think the 2012 election is a nightmare, and I live in uncontested California. The media exposure, legal battles over voting, and conflicting arguments must be taxing enough for you. But to be an undecided voter in the battleground state during such a divisive election must be maddening.
The Midwest is my home. Although I live in California now, I was raised in Pennsylvania (technically not the Midwest), but I came of age in Illinois. Perhaps this explains why I’m feeling protective and want to reach out to you.
I have some advise about how to handle this election…
If you’re unsure or confused by the choice ahead, it likely means you’re paying absolutely no attention to this election (in which case, I salute you), or you are paying too much attention. And in this case, I want to tell you – Stop!
Take comfort, it’s not you. In 2012, the truth is slippery and words are irrelevant. Given the influx of cash from special interests, the partisan state of media, and 24/7 political spin, it’s impossible to know who’s being honest and sincere.
So as someone who appreciates independence, who has voted Republican and Democratic in the past, here’s my advise to you…
Actions speak louder than words.
Politics aside, I hope we can agree on the following.
When Barack Obama became President in January 2009, he inherited:
- Two wars
- Unpaid tax cuts
- A financial crisis caused largely by deregulation in the banking and mortgage industries
- An economy hemorrhaging over 500K jobs a month
- And a stock market in free fall
To be fair, Democrats and Republicans, alike, had fingerprints all over the problems Obama inherited. Leading up to 2008, Democrats, too, voted for wars, deregulation, and tax cuts that contributed to the mounting debt.
While the degree of responsibility may vary, had Democrats stood by their convictions and not been so intimidated during the Bush years, the financial crisis could have been minimized or avoided all together. There’s enough blame to go around (writes the man who voted for Bush in 2000)…
But this is 2012. And another 4 years have passed. From my perspective, the question is no longer, who caused the crisis (because, make no mistake, we’re still dealing with the same crisis)…
Instead, I’m asking – Who took action and most effectively dealt with the mess?
I understood Obama would be tasked with addressing the failures of the prior Administration: poorly managed wars that led to the loss of American lives, the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, and a decimated middle class on life support.
Despite the crisis Obama inherited, I also recognized that investments in America, like extending unemployment benefits, providing additional tax cuts, and saving the auto industry, were necessary to avoid calamity.
Unfortunately for the Republican establishment, I also realized something they’re desperately banking on us to forget…
The trajectory of Bush’s debt (charted on the right) doesn’t change unless his policies are reversed.
In 2008, I knew that ending two wars, implementing financial regulations, and restoring the middle class wouldn’t be easy tasks, especially when faced with deep-rooted unemployment, a housing crisis, and special interests with bottom lines.
Despite the toxicity of politics and corruption in Washington, D.C., I genuinely believed the Senator from Illinois would prevail.
Four years later, I’m happy to report: Obama delivered. And it’s not a question of opinion. It’s a matter of fact.
Because of Obama / Democratic efforts:
- One war is over and another is ending.
- More homes are being sold, values are on the rise, and foreclosure filings are at their lowest point in five years.
- Consumer protections against predatory banking are being implemented.
- The hemorrhaging of jobs in the private sector has been mended by 31 months of continued job growth.
- The rates of annual spending, revenue, and budget deficits have all decreased to levels not seen since before Eisenhower.
- And as an added bonus…
- The American auto industry is back on top
- Bin Laden in dead
- And America is more respected in the world
Are Obama’s policies perfect or complete? No, far from it… But I don’t blame the President or Democrats for policy shortcomings. At least they were present and accounted for.
Other than vilifying the President and terrifying the electorate on Fox News, where were the Republicans from 2009 to 2012? Because their actions reveal they certainly weren’t accepting responsibility or giving a damn about America:
- Republicans engaged in record-breaking obstructionism. They rejected bills they once sponsored, turned the Senate into minority rule, and blocked job creating efforts that prolonged high unemployment.
- Republicans incited unnecessary panic by threatening to default on debt and shut down government, causing S&P to downgrade the US credit rating, which further depressed consumer confidence and impeded economic growth and hiring.
- Republicans have repeatedly held the middle class hostage, insisting the Bush tax cuts need to be extended for the wealthy “job creators,” yet they ignore an inconvenient fact: the Bush Tax cuts did not net a single job and the rich have only gotten richer.
Why is it acceptable that the political party that spearheaded the wars and financial crisis refused to pay down their debt? And why did they only become sanctimoniously prudent with spending when Main Street needed them most?
The Republicans love entertaining conspiracy theories, but the one they refuse to engage in is the plot to oust Barack Obama, which goes something like this:
On the night of Barack Obama’s inauguration, key figures from the Republican Party (which included guests like Eric Cantor, Paul Ryan, Newt Gingrich, Jim DeMint) gathered to synchronize their political assault on the newly elected President.
- Obstruct the President at every turn, thereby denying Obama a win on the economy.
- Relentlessly vilify the President on Fox News, portraying him as a socialist hellbent on destroying America.
- Pin Bush’s increasing debts on Obama, while demanding wars be prolonged and insisting more tax cuts are needed for the wealthy to create jobs.
- Blame the sick, elderly, and poor for our nation’s problems. Demand the dismantling of government.
- Rile the electorate. Divide with hot button issues like abortion, immigration, and a mosque at Ground Zero.
- And, lest we forget, coordinate efforts with Republican Governors to suppress the vote in 2012.
Okay. So I took some liberties. I don’t know the details of Republican VIP’s plot in 2009. Regardless, sitting here in 2012, aligning words with actions, if I remove intent from the equation, the efforts and outcomes are no different.
It’s not the politics of Washington, D.C. I find upsetting. The reason I’m writing you is to point out – The Republican weapon of choice against Barack Obama was America.
Actions speak louder than words. But thanks to Senate Minority Leader, Mitch McConnell, we know why Republicans obstructed, why they’ve been rooting for American failure for the past four years.
And it all comes down to the reelection of Barack Obama on November 6, 2012… an election likely to be decided by a handful of voters in Ohio.
As someone who has voted Republican and values having a choice, it pains me to say – like the GOP establishment in 2012, the Republican contender for President is irrelevant.
The “severely conservative” Governor from Massachusetts only personifies the hypocrisy and arrogance of the Republican Party in 2012. As his 47% comments support, he believes he is above the American electorate and thinks becoming President of the United States is an entitlement program for the elite.
After opining “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt,” the son of an auto executive must also think America is too lazy and dependent on government to notice; he is an opportunistic business man propped up on a flimsy platform, built on positions that have all changed (abortion, gay rights, healthcare, climate change, immigration, stem cell research, tax policy, gun control, foreign policy, etc…).
Like the GOP, Mitt Romney is banking on Americans to not only blame Barack Obama for the crisis sponsored by the Republican Party, but he wants us to accept that additional tax cuts for the wealthy, coupled with increased defense spending and more deregulation, will lower our national debt.
It’s called math. It doesn’t add up. And quite frankly, as a voter, I find the equation – and the Republican party – offensive.
Whether you’ve voted Republican, Independent, or Democratic in the past, we all complain about corruption in politics; a government that no longer works for the people but against us. But seldom is the corruption so blatant, insulting, and egregious.
I can reward government malpractice, fortifying corruption and greed into the system by reelecting Republicans to office. I can vote for a secretive businessman who profited from the dismantling of American companies, allow him to do the same to our government, and stand by as he sells American spare parts to the highest bidder.
Or, I can dream again and celebrate Democracy. I can back up my Midwestern ideals at the ballot box and vote Democratic. I can send a message to Washington, D.C., tailored for the Republican Party in 2012…
This is America, a land of principles and character. I reject extremism, refuse to be frightened, and I won’t reward incompetence. You can drown out my voice, but you can’t buy my vote.
Step aside. I choose to march forward…
When I was a kid in Pennsylvania, my grandmother used to tell me that California was the “land of fruits and nuts.”
Perhaps, you agree after this letter.
Whatever you take away from my feedback, please know: while I’m California crazy about my President, my vote is grounded in Midwestern ideals.
Please help reelect Barack Obama and vote Democratic… assuming Republicans allow you to vote.
CC: Colorado, Florida, Nevada, & Virginia